The earliest iteration of designer Areeayl Goodwin’s business began when she was 16, and would sell her jewelry out of a shoebox to friends at her high school. “I thought it was so classy,” she laughs. “I called it, ‘Mrs. G.’” Her passion for jewelry design continued while Goodwin studied acting at Howard University, where she realized she was onto something. “Howard is such a fashion-conscious campus, so every time my friends went out [in my pieces], they got asked where they got their jewelry,” Goodwin says. “There started to be a demand.”
Today Goodwin—who is from and based in Philadelphia—has forayed her side hustle into a full-on career. She’s now the founder of both Beads Byaree, her jewelry line, and WHIM Byaree, her clothing line. The former, which focuses on statement earrings, has become a hit among celebrities: her bold pieces have been worn by Beyoncé, Tracee Ellis Ross, Indya Moore, and more. But the popularity of her earrings aren’t based solely on their aesthetics (though her nature-inspired designs, referencing leaves and shells, are certainly eye-grabbing). Each piece Goodwin makes also comes with a rich backstory or purpose, proving that fashion can also be used as a powerful tool for storytelling.